My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


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Monday, August 27, 2013

Finally .. some light rains are happening which is good for the garden, although I really wish for a good downpour, just to soak the soil very well.

My squash crop is growing well .. yesterday I spent some time cutting away the mildew laden leaves … I’ve found a number of good blogs for squash growing, such as:  http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/powdery-mildew and this link was quite helpful, with regards to flowers (the first flowers are always male) and not to worry about flowers dropping off, quite reassuring:  http://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-squash/#jump-2

I love finding reading about other gardeners‘s experiences, how they overcome their gardening “issues” .. as in “powdery mildew“.  I’ve learned that it’s alright to remove the mildewed leaves, leaving 4 to 5 leaves is fine.   Was hoping to have bushels of squash to share with friends this year .. but will still have enough to share so that is good.

When it is time for harvesting, you can bet that I’ll be posting pictures.

Anyway .. .just want to share my most wonderful latest adventure!  On Sunday I had the opportunity to fly for two solid hours (more than two, actually) in the PW 6 at Port Alberni and here you can see a great video explaining what a flight is like:  http://visc.wqs.ca/

However, as wonderful as my garden is and as much as I truly love each and every living thing that grows there, there is absolutely nothing in this world that equals going flying .. especially when it is flying in a sailplane … and on Sunday .. I had the most wonderful opportunity to fly for hours!!  Sheer heaven.

The weather was splendid … a full day of the most amazing cloud formations ..

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Isn’t this crazy wonderful ???

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Little did I know at that time ..  when I was busy clicking photos of the skies above .. that I would soon be up there myself!

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So it was a hot, sunny afternoon.   I was sitting in my insect screened little tent, avoiding the hornets buzzing around .. reading the final pages of “the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” … when Andrzej called out … Anne-Marie .. do you want to go for a flight???  Well, no sooner did I hear the beginning of his sentence when I’d thrown down my book, chair toppled to the ground, unzipped the insect tent and was running across the tarmac.  Where I settled myself into the front seat of the PW-6.  And we took off minutes later!!  As you can see, this wasn’t my first flight!   I love .. love .. love .. flying!

We were soaring .. the tow line was dispatched and there was just the beautiful song of the wind coming in through the side port .. I taped a bit of this, wanting to remember this melodious yet powerful sound for later .. when I’m on the ground … wanting to remember and savour over and over and over again ..

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From the ground .. early afternoon …..

 

 

 

 

 

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From the air .. we were heading towards Mount Arrowsmith .. wow …………

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I just couldn’t believe that I would ever be so close to this mountain!   Waved to hikers along the top … WOW

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How utterly magnificent … I just reveled in the extreme joy of flying so high, I believe over 6,300 feet .. how close to the mountain we are .. gliding in the smooth air .. ever closer …

 

 

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So close . I could see trees, snow, gullies .. but most of all, I felt the sheer joy of flying with the power of the wind, the thermalling had brought us up here .. no motors .. magical .. empowering ..

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Time just stood still as we sailed past this venerable mountain .. such energies of beauty, power, majesty, nature .. struck me speechless as we travelled on in the air .. this was an excellent flying day ..

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I felt so blessed to be up here … such a great privilege ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We did fly near the Comox Glacier .. I’ll share that photo later .. here are more sky shots ..

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From up above..

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Thanks to my dh’s passion for flying .. I’ve experienced:  tandem hang-glider flights, which includes launching off a mountain, being towed by an ultra-light (flown by my dh!); flying on the back of an ultra-light (again, dh as pilot); sail plane rides in California, Nanaimo; an acrobatic flight for one of my (ahem) birthdays, could have been my 50th.   Flight in the back seat  of a Nanchang; many hours in Cessna 172’s and other aircraft.

However, nothing can even remotely compare with being in the PW 6 up at Port Alberni.   The smooth tow up by the Pawnee … the sweet ascent into the skies, the “thang-thwup” of the tow-line release.  Followed by hours of other-worldly soaring in the skies,   Soaring along the mountain ridges.  Thermalling to climb and the cross-country flying … a journey into another realm.  One that I truly love .. even though there are no gardens up there.

I am one very lucky gal .. and look forward to another flight ….and then another .. and, yes another ….

A 2-seater self-launcher is on our wish list ….

 

🙂


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next year, I vow (again) I will have an improved veggie garden.

I’m learning (quickly) my strengths and weaknesses in growing vegetables.

My pal D has a definite green thumb.  She can grow tomatoes like there is no tomorrow, harvesting hundreds of tomatoes from several plants.  She even gave me 2 healthy specimens for my garden.  Alas, I have not harvested as many as she has.  She nurtures the plants, carefully watering them, turning them daily to ensure they receive enough sunlight.  I, on the other hand, do water them but not as carefully.  And the squash tendrils (from the container squash plants) have quite grown through the tomatoes so that I cannot easily turn the pots.

Ah, next year!!

And my squash plants have gone crazy!  I’ve planted 3 types so won’t be able to save the seed from this years crops .. but, hey, that is what Seedy Saturdays are for!  These look like spaghetti squash, but  I don’t think they are … pretty though.   Labeling the plants would help! sigh.

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Nice hidden treasures …

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It feels like Christmas morning, going outside to check on the squash!  Little hidden treasures on the ground.

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Here is a reason why I have difficulty turning some tomato plants around … squash has taken over!

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Quite literally – taken over .. growing onto the grass ..

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I made a makeshift area for the squash to grow … they seem to like this!  (next year, ahem, I’ll plan accordingly, in advance of planting the squash seeds!)  The joys of gardening, the adventures!  The discoveries!  Plus  .. happy memories to remember in the winter!

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I had filled Rubbermaid containers with water, to make it easier to nourish some plants that weren’t directly in the easy reach of the hose.   One day I found a ladybug vainly trying to swim in the water .. oh, silly ladybug, you are meant to fly, not swim!  So I scooped her out .. see ..

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And then I gently placed her on the leaf of a nearby .. yes!  Squash leaf!  They do come in handy for these types of rescues!

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Hard to believe that this area was quite thickly planted with my lovely garlic … and now home to squash!  Happy memories of my garlic … time to plant again in a few months.  Yum!

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Kentucky Wonder Beans … although they grew rapidly up the lattice, I haven’t harvested many beans from these, planted in a container.

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Quite an abundant harvest from the same type of bean, growing in partial shade, twisting and turning .. as they grow just as rapidly

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Happy honeybees ….

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Any excuse to stop and marvel at the magic of nature ..

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I’ve lost the marker for this flower .. any idea of the name??? I bought it for the hummingbirds .

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I bought 2 of these little feeders at the SPCA thrift store in Port Alberni weeks ago .. the Nuthatch approves!

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And this dear little Chickadee is happy also!

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Well .. the day is starting .. time to grab a pail and check out the local blackberries .. for juicing later on today …


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The beauty of a sunflower … on a sunny day

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yesterday I sat outside for a few minutes, an opportunity to enjoy a tiny bit of silence from the noise of neighbourhood construction.

And my eyes fell on the back of this sunflower, growing away in a container of beans.

I was struck by the immense beauty of each detail of this sunflower grown from a humble seed .. planted by the birds.

Such amazing gracefulness in every particle of this amazing plant.

From the perfection of the cheerful yellow yellow petals to the fine lines of the leaf bracts to the strength of the sturdy stem.

Another example of the magic of nature.

     Image

🙂


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How an early morning walk segued into my first juicing experience!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Well … yesterday I went for a lovely long walk … and found myself on the section of the pathway that paralleled the local allotment gardens.   And along both sides of this pathway were heavily laden blackberries bushes, like a jungle, they were so thick.  So I picked a few and then decided to go home, fetch a bucket and return to pick away.

It was an overcast morning and the hornets were not too much in evidence .. so perfect time for berry picking.  I hadn’t done this for years and it felt good to be just simply harvesting this wild bounty.

As cars roared back and forth on the Pat Bay Highway, which also paralleled the pathway .. not too close, though – I was protected from this traffic noise by the gigantic thick  hedge of tall Oregon Grape and the overgrown thickets of blackberries.

It was a lovely and quiet time of the day .. only two passersby … a lady with a Dutch accent who commented that the best berries are always at the top of the canes .. true!  And a brisk walker who was on her morning jaunt and on her return I saw her stop and taste the berries!

Well, I don’t really know how long I spent carefully detaching ripe berries from the thorny branches, but it must have been well over an hour.   I had nearly ¾ of a bucket and decided that was enough for now.  Next time I’ll bring a little step-ladder with me to get some of those top berries.

Back at home, I searched for recipes using these blackberries .. but not in the mood for baking, so decided to just freeze them.  A thorough rinse, patting dry and I put the first of 3 large parchment paper lined trays in the freezer.

After awhile .. a thought popped up .. I remembered that I had bought dh a juicer for Christmas and it had not been used yet.  Hmmmmmm

Maybe I’ll try my hand at juicing.

I must say, first, try to imagine a spotless kitchen, with the latest kitchen gadgets spread out on a tidy, work surface.  Everything is spotless and sparkly.

Hold that thought .. cause that isn’t how it all worked out.  But I didn’t take any pictures, so there is no proof, ha ha ha .. read on! You’ll see why I didn’t take any photos .. perhaps next time.

So I removed the 3rd tray, the berries hadn’t frozen yet.   Assembled the juicer, which is a Hamilton Beach, Big Mouth Extractor.  And what a powerful little juicer this machine is .. I love it.

The first batch of blackberry juice streamed out of the machine and I soon had a few jars full .. tasted the juice and it was very concentrated … and needed to have water added.

This is so much fun, I thought .. so why don’t I juice the frozen berries!   Went to the freezer, found all the ziplock bags, 2 large and 3 small and began my next juicing session.

Well … I soon discovered that this little machine churned out what was almost like blackberry ice-cream!!  The motor slugged away and soon I had more jars filled.   Time to empty out the pulp container… and it sure seemed like there was a lot of juice left in the pulp .. so I put the pulp in a strainer.

Finished cleaning out the juicer and thought, what the heck, why don’t I run this pulp through again .. and received more juice.  This time I put the pulp in zip lock bags to take to the compost.

I then cleaned out the machine .. this is no big deal, soapy wash, rinse, brush the metallic sieved bowl and ready for action again.

This time I juiced carrots .. oh, my.   Concentrated vitamin C.

After several hours of experimenting with other berries .. it was time to call it a day.  Carefully put all my new juices into the fridge, some in the freezer for later.  Thinking it would be a good idea to fill some ice-cube trays with juice, for easy future drinks.

I have a lot to learn about juicing, that is, to blend various fruits together, but that will happen.

Anyway, time to relax and watch some Coronation Street, so I just left the zip-locked bag of berry pulp on the counter and to the land of tv I went.

Returning to the kitchen awhile later .. I discovered another lesson learned.  That is, not to leave a plastic bag of berry pulp on the counter.

There was blackberry juice on the counter, trailing down the kitchen drawer, cupboard and puddled on the floor and baseboard for a circumference of about 3 feet.

Oh, shoot … this isn’t good.

My first thought was, darn, I could have used that juice, what a waste.

My second thought was, omg .. this blackberry juice stains like crazy.

My third thought was, omg .. I am so glad that dh is not here right now.

I quickly gathered cloths to soak up the beautiful juice that was everywhere.

Next I found my container of “Mother’s Choice” hard surface cleaner (manufactured by Pink Solution in Vancouver) applied some of the grey paste to a cloth and scrubbed away.  This magic solution completely eradicated any residue of the beautiful blackberry liquid and our counters, wooden trim on the cupboard door, plus the cupboard door surfaces, baseboard trim and flooring  now bear no evidence to my “juicing accident”.

Relief!!

Well, if I hadn’t gone for  walk yesterday, I wouldn’t have noticed the zillions of blackberries growing so close to home, which resulted in my gathering enough and this segued into my entrance to the world of juicing.

Yeah

Seems to me that every time I go for a walk, whether by myself or with my pal D, something interesting  occurs.

Which reminds me of our very interesting walk a few days ago. We were invited on a tour of a garden which belonged to the most amazing planted boulevard.   A tour which lasted for two hours!   And lots of pictures.

But that is for another time.

For now I will just marvel at the results of my first juicing experience and I think I will search out some sparkling water to add to some of this nectar!

🙂


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Murphy’s Law … I’d carefully watered the garden yesterday afternoon and rain has arrived overnight!  Well, I’m happy about that!   So really I should be doing housework … cause it really needs to be done.  But first, some delay tactics before I begin that Herculean task.  Tea is called for.  Next, I start to go through my photos, of which I have quite  a few.    So I’ve selected a few to share and here they are:

First .. I was downtown Victoria, heading towards Dallas Road to meet up with a friend when I happen to notice this lovely antique car in my rear-view mirror:

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This was about 3 weeks ago and there was the annual antique car show, which was the most spectacular event,  Thousands (I think) of amazingly beautiful cars arrive at the Inner Harbour and park there … while thousands of people walk around and admire these autos.  It is really quite a happy thing to drive around and see these vehicles travelling about.

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Oh my lovely Kentucky Wonder Beans … there will be quite a bounty and I look forward to cooking them and smothering them with butter .. yum!   I’ll save some seeds for next years crop!!!

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Rose petals drying in the sun ….

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Sunflowers are so beautiful and cheerful.  They each sport a unique personality …  this one appears to have rabbit ears!

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Lovely lilies growing in the yard, my pal D tells me that these are star-gazer lilies!

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Now there are squash plants growing in the same area where I harvested my huge crop of garlic!!

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DH and I had some fun time away and made our way to Port Alberni for some time of flying and enjoying the beauty of the Alberni Valley.   No computers as repairs were being made to my new Asus.  So some time of being disconnected from the electronic world.  And I found that I quite liked that.  Although, mid-way through our holidays, we had to return home for a few days.  And the laptop had returned.  So I found myself wasting hours on both days.   Was quite happy to depart again without this item and able to enjoy the world without it.

Up in Port Alberni, A Buffalo prepares for take off .. they had picked up some sky divers who had taken part in aerial exercises .. I just caught sight of the last one landing!   Quite impressive.

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Beautiful cloud formations on a hot and sunny day …. I love this!  And in the fore front there are some trailers for sailplanes which are now happily set up and ready to spend some time in the air!

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Wheeeeeee … I was so happy to go for an hour-long sailplane ride!!!  The Pawnee is towing my pilot and myself in the PW6 !!!

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The pilot released the tow line, and we were flying, thermalling ,,,,, and we were soon flying near my lovely dh, who was flying the PW5 just ahead of us .. that was so exciting ….

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Such skies …

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We flew above some eagles .. powerful ..

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Darling little Coco …. she really wanted to be with her poppa, but it was a very hot day and we had air conditioning in our motor home …. so we hung out there for a while.  Her face tells a story, it is as if she is saying, politely ” you know, I do enjoy being here with you in this nice and cool motor home, but you really must understand that I long to be with my poppa.  I don’t meant to be rude, but, please, could you let me go to him?”

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And what a nice surprise when dh and I returned, midway through our time away … my pal D had left this lovely bouquet of sweet peas!  Friends are the best!  She also looked after our beloved kitties while we were away!

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Well, I can delay no more .. housework calls.   I know that once I begin the vacuuming, laundry, dusting activities of making our home tidy .. I will enter the zen flow of energy.   My reward today will be the totally surprised look on my dh’s face when he comes home from work today.  That will be worth it!

🙂


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Back to the garden .. and wow … look at this video, about a group helping an orphanage in extreme Eastern India to grow their own food

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Well … back from being away .. spending lots of time in the garden, some time at the computer!

Just found this fabulous site “Urban Farming Guys” (gals are also included!)

This amazing group of people are truly inspirational.   The attached video is number 1 of 3.  They go to an extreme eastern area of India to a very poor, dirty, overcrowded town … and set about installing a self-sustaining garden for an orphanage.  Oh, the sights you will see.  and the positivity that results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_37238&feature=iv&list=PLDE6DD729B871784B&src_vid=9A24Bbtjsdg&v=xSTh-UnuqgQ

Out of this world.

Just incredible .. you will see.

I’m looking forward to writing about my own little garden and will do so later.

For now .. I just had to share this.